Just an hour away from Orlando and 20 minutes south of Daytona New Smyrna beach feels very far away from these tourist traps. What I found most interesting and alluring about this quaint coastal town is how it brings together art, history, a laid back surfer beach atmosphere and an unspoiled natural paradise. I was impressed with how much there is to do in this small town where everything is just a 15 minute drive. New Smyrna is actually two towns in one; part island and part inland complete with two downtowns and two completely different personalities. Luxury condos tower over the oceanfront sharing the island with a quaint beach town while on the riverfront you find yourself in a historic small Southern town where oaks draped with Spanish moss line the quiet streets.
We arrived at New Smyrna on a rainy afternoon after a long drive from the gulf coast. The kids where restless and we where all disappointed that our beach plans seemed to have been ruined by the rain. We decided to head to the beach anyway just to check it out.
This was the first time any of us got to drive on the beach and we really enjoyed cruising slowly along the shoreline and watching the surfers ride the waves through the open windows on one side and delighted with the gorgeous view of the dunes on the other side. As the rain let down a bit the kids got their feet wet and explored the walkways that lead from the shore side homes to the beach across the dunes.
We when out for an early dinner in one of the many laid back eateries along pedestrian-friendly Flagler Avenue, walking past touristy souvenir shops, art galleries, museums, antiques and shops. The kids where tired and we wanted to get an early start the next day to take advantage of the beach so we headed to the Black Dolphin Inn to rest. We had decided we wanted a quiet and homey location, away from the beach town environment so the Dolphin Inn located seemed like the perfect choice. This charming and elegant B&B is located along the Indian River, just 10 minutes away from the beach, is the perfect place to relax after a fun day at the beach with the family, surfing or fishing. You can read more about our experience at the Black Dolphin Inn here.
When we travel with the kids both my husband and I try to get some alone time so we can get to do things we would not be able to with the kids in tow. So the next day I got up early and witnessed the breathtaking view of the sun rising over the Atlantic and enjoyed an early morning walk on the beach. Back at the Black Dolphin Inn we all delighted in a home made breakfast prepared by the owner herself and then drove to the beach. We headed straight for Dunes Park as this area of the beach does not allow cars and is safer for families. The kids spent some time playing in the waves and watching the surfers, we explored the dunes and swam in the inlet.
Around noon we headed to Ponce Inlet to check out the beautiful lighthouse and had a pick nick lunch before getting back on the road on our way back to Southwest Florida.
You can find visit the New Smyrna Beach Visitors Bureau website to find out more about this beautiful Florida beach town, it’s restaurants and attractions. You can also read our article about the Best Things To Do In New Smyrna Beach With Kids.
Follow 365 Things to Do In Southwest Florida on Facebook for the best events, attractions and Florida getaway ideas for the whole family.